Two words Benjamin: ‘No Plastic’

Taiwan Announces Ban on All Plastic Bags, Straws, and Utensils

“Plastic” May have been the one word of advice given to Dustin Hoffman’s wayward college graduate ‘Benjamin’ in The Graduate.’ But 50 years later you might be more prescient encouraging young graduates to look at alternatives to plastic.

Just this month, for example, the island nation of Taiwan announced one of the globes most aggressive stands against plastic: a blanket ban that, within 12 years will end the use of single-use bags, utensils, straws, and containers.This according to an article in the Hong Kong Free Press.

Taiwan’s will be one of the farthest-reaching bans on plastic in the world, and evidence that a growing anti-plastic movement in gaining speed as the scale of environmental harm caused by the substance is fully realized.

“We aim to implement a blanket ban by 2030 to significantly reduce plastic waste that pollutes the ocean and also gets into the food chain to affect human health,” said Lai Ying-yaun, a Taiwanese Environmental Protection Agency official, in a statement.

Taiwan’s ban will be phased in over time and builds on existing regulations like an expanded recycling program and extra charges for plastic bags, according to the science website Phys.

The ban will start with a ban on plastic straws at chain restaurants in 2019s and in dining outlets by 2020.

Taiwan will charge retail stores for providing free plastic bags, disposable food containers, and utensils in 2020 and additional fees will be added by 2025. By 2030 the island nation will have a flat-out ban on single-use bags, utensils, straws, and containers.

Globally, around 380 million metric tons of plastic are being created annually. Meanwhile, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans each year.

The UN recently proposed a global ban on plastic pollution entering the oceans; Canada is planning to introduce a similar proposal at the G7 gathering later this year; and a range of local, state, and federal governments are enacting targeted and sweeping bans on plastic use.

Plastic straws in particular have been the focus of environmental advocates. Each day, US citizens use about 500 million straws, according to Eco-Cycle.

Almost none of these straws can be recycled because they’re generally made from single-use plastic and are so flimsy that they can’t endure the recycling process. So businesses, cities, and even countries are getting rid of them.